Earlier this week, we covered how the popular IFTTT automation service can be used to fill in some of the gaps in Google Home’s new Routines feature by providing the ability to create actions and control devices that can’t be incorporated into a Routine, such as setting a lighting scene. Today, we’re going to look at a few more practical examples of some of the things you can do with Google Routines by tying it into IFTTT.
As we explained in Part 1, the key is that you can use a device like a Wemo smart plug that can be controlled by Google Home and can also be used as an IFTTT trigger, basically allowing it to act as a “bridge” between the two services.
For our purposes, we’ll stick with the Belkin Wemo Smart Plug as our “bridge” device in this guide, but any compatible device can be used, as long as it can be controlled from a Google Home Routine and act as an IFTTT trigger when it’s turned on or off.
Set The Lighting When You Wake Up In The Morning
Google Home’s Good morning routine can turn on your lights, but it’s an all-or-nothing proposition — it can’t set them to a specific light level or color, and you can’t even initiate a scene from a platform like Philips’ Hue or Lutron’s Caséta. Since you probably don’t want your lights coming on at full intensity when you wake up in the morning, Google Home’s native capabilities can be somewhat limiting. But fortunately, IFTTT can easily trigger a more appropriate lighting configuration for you.
This is one area in which the Wemo Smart Plug you’re using can also do double duty if you already use it with a typical morning appliance like a coffee maker, basically making your wakeup lighting come on when you start brewing your morning coffee.
Lock The Door When You Go To Bed
Google Home Routines provide no ability to control smart locks, so if you want to lock the doors when you say good night to Google, you’re going to either have to issue a separate command, or — assuming you have an IFTTT-compatible lock such as a Lockitron — tie into an IFTTT applet to do so.
Sadly, the number of smart locks that tie into IFTTT are still somewhat limited, and many popular locks, like August’s Smart Lock, don’t support IFTTT actions, so you won’t be able to lock or unlock those as part of an IFTTT applet.
Play Sonos Music When You Come Home
Although Google Home obviously provides its own music services, if you have a Sonos system, your little Google speaker is probably not going to be your preferred choice for listening to music. This is a Rube Goldberg sort of workaround, but there’s a clever little trick to leverage Lutron Caséta’s Sonos integration to allow IFTTT to trigger a Sonos playlist.
While Google Home directly supports Lutron Caséta, the key problem that IFTTT solves for us here is that Google’s Routines can’t directly trigger a Caséta scene — they can only turn individual lights on and off. Of course, if you have a Lutron Caséta system in your house already, you can also set up your Caséta lighting to come on when you arrive home, just by simply including your lights in the same Caséta scene as your Sonos playlist.
Preheat Your Oven When You’re On The Way Home
If you have a Home Connect appliance, Google Assistant’s Commuting home Routine can be a handy way to preheat your oven so it’s ready to cook dinner once you come in the door. Unfortunately, not only is there no direct way to control appliances from Google’s Routines, but few appliances even tie into Google Home at all.
As we explained previously, you can also do this based on your location when you’re leaving work, but for many people, using a Google Routine is a better way of handling it. It’s especially better for those who don’t work at one location all day, since in this case, it’s only triggered when you confirm that you’re actually on the way home. (Make sure you’re coming directly home if you’re using this tip. For obvious reasons.)
Google Home Routines have some very strange and unfortunate limitations right now; for instance, it’s particularly odd that features which can be activated directly by Google Assistant, such as scenes, can’t be included in a Routine at all. Fortunately, although it’s a bit kludgy, IFTTT can be a helpful workaround while we wait for Google to bring more capabilities to its Routines.